On Saturday, an unhappy customer vented online about an internet-connected garage-door opener he’d bought on Amazon. It was the sort of short, unremarkable comment that’s left thousands upon thousands of times a day by disgruntled shoppers who can’t get the gizmos they just brought home to work.
The device, Garadget, connects to existing garage-door hardware. It lets users remotely open and close their garage door from a smartphone, and alerts them whenever the garage is accessed.
“iPhone App will not stay open,” wrote Robert Martin (username: rdmart7) on Garadget’s official discussion board. “Wondering what kind of piece of shit I just purchased here…” For good measure, he hopped over to Garadget’s Amazon page, too, and left a one-star review there. “Junk - DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY.”
The routine complaint escalated quickly. That night, Martin heard back directly from the gadget’s creator, Denis Grisak—usually, this is the holy grail for a complaining customer—but Grisak was in no mood to help. He responded:
The abusive language here and in your negative Amazon review, submitted minutes after experiencing a technical difficulty, only demonstrates your poor impulse control. I’m happy to provide the technical support to the customers on my Saturday night but I’m not going to tolerate any tantrums.
At this time your only option is return Garadget to Amazon for refund. Your unit ID 2f0036... will be denied server connection.
Without access to Garadget’s servers, the iPhone app can’t talk to the garage-door opener. So with that, Martin’s $99 purchase was rendered useless.